Let’s face it, this time of year bowhunters are susceptible to a strange ailment. A lack of treestand time combined with inadequate adrenaline levels is all that’s needed to catch a bad case of this post-season crud.
A diagnosis is simple. If symptoms include counting the days until October 1st you’ve probably caught the post-season virus. If you’re unhappy and want to vegetate until next hunting season, you should seek treatment immediately. And if you find yourself trying to cope by continuously talking about last year’s hunting season—consider yourself on the sick list.
Avoid prolonging this dreaded illness, and the spreading of this contagious disease to your hunting partners, by making a post-season to-do list and getting prepared for the 2015 hunting season.
To make the 2015 season the best ever, now is the time to make a to-do list of what needs initiated, mended or slightly altered. A good way to move beyond any post-season infirmity is to organize yourself, your strategy and your equipment.
1. Buck Inventory
Late winter is the perfect time to find out what bucks survived the previous season. To locate the survivors, place a few trail cameras over fresh food and mineral. These food sites will also provide post rut bucks with additional nutrition and it sure can’t hurt to give these bucks a boost in their winter diet.
When supplementing food, it’s best to offer some form of protein. Deer will undoubtedly devour shelled corn, but they’ll receive greater benefit by offering a balance of corn, protein and minerals.
After you’ve put out your preferred food, add a powdered attractant with a strong odor. Spending a few extra dollars to add the smell of apple, chestnuts, or acorns will help the deer find the food site much faster and can draw deer from a considerable distance.
To save money, check your local big box stores for discounted pricing on both attractants and food supplements. Many stores clearance out their hunting products this time of year and a little shopping can provide significant savings for an already thin post-season wallet.
2. Treestand Maintenance
One of the most important items on every bowhunter’s to-do list is treestand maintenance. Is your life worth more than a $15.00 nylon strap? Of course it is.
Treestand straps don’t last forever. They wear out and need replacing every couple of years. Don’t risk it! Once those straps have been exposed to the elements for a of couple years, they should be replaced.
It doesn’t matter if your buddy never replaces his straps and leaves his stands out 365 days a year, there’s no need for you to risk your own life over something so trivial! It may sound like boring safety rhetoric, but you only have one life. Replace those straps and be safe. Post-season is maintenance time and that includes maintaining your treestand.
3. Bow Maintenance
Hunting in rain and snow can take its toll on a bow. Post-season provides the time to clean off the dirt and debris, remove any surface rust off your bow’s accessories, oil all friction points and wax your bow’s string and cables. It’s also a good idea to make sure your bow is properly tuned and ready for the upcoming 3D archery season.
(Ideally its best to oil key areas of your bow all through the season, the oil helps prevent significant oxidation on non-stainless steel parts if hunting in wet weather.)
4. Boot Storage
To preserve your rubber hunting boots, make sure they are 100% dry before putting them away. To prevent any possible moisture retention, be sure and remove the insoles when drying.
Before storing your boots in a scent proof container, powder both the inside of the boot and under the insole with Dead Down Wind Boot and Storage Powder. A little post-season prevention will insure you’ll have a good-as-new pair of boots come next hunting season.
5. Post-season Scouting
On a recent post-season scouting trip, we located several scrapes, made during the secondary rut, just inside some field edges that we might not have seen if we waited until later in the year to begin scouting. Snow, rain and wind can quickly disguise these key pieces to next seasons puzzle, so time is of the essence.
While I prefer to wait until late February before I go deeper in the timber, this is a great time of year to scout field edges while looking for a shed antlers. And why you might ask, doesn’t he scout deep this time of year?
Waiting until late February or March before going into areas that serve as a sanctuary or bedding area will increase your chances of finding sheds. If you pressure an already pressured buck, it’s likely to head across the fence and relocate on property you don’t have permission to shed hunt on.
6. Storage Container Cleaning
As careful as I may try to be, it seems dirt and debris are always getting into the scent proof container where I store my hunting clothes. While it may seem trite, talking the time to clean out your scent free storage container will insure you’ll have the best possible place to store your hunting clothes during the off-season.
I personally use Dead Down Wind’s Evolve Spray and thoroughly wipe out the container before storing my hunting clothes. You can also sprinkle some activated carbon in the bottom of the container, which will also help to adsorb any unwanted odors.
7. Wash All Outerwear
Before you store those hunting clothes, be sure and give them a good bath. If you need to remove any blood from your clothing, try using hydrogen peroxide before washing.
Again, I use Dead Down Wind Laundry Detergent to wash base layers, mid-layers and outerwear before storing.
8. Restock Hunting Supplies
Hunting as a family can be very expensive. Over the years I’ve learned to look for after season sales on everything from Dead Down Wind, AA batteries, deer feed, to hand warmers. These savings can be very significant and help to make each dollar go a little further.
My wife even knows to watch Walmart for discounted Dead Down Wind deodorant. A dollar is a dollar, so save it when you can.
If you’re in need of replacing a treestand or climbing sticks, now is the time to get a jump on your gear for next year. Not only will it prevent you from procrastinating until the last minute, this is the time to find a good deal since most companies are offering specials on last years gear.
9. Communicate With Property Owners
If hunting private property it’s important to nurture strong relationships with property owners. You’ll be surprised how simply stopping by, shaking a hand and saying thank you can help insure you have a place to hunt next year.
If it fits into your budget buy the property owner something. Whether it’s a gift card to a restaurant, a quality ham or a fruit basket, offering the property owner a gesture of kindness is a must for any post-season to-do list.
10. Quality Deer Management
The bowhunter’s post-season to-do list should also include a strategy for quality deer management. To help you get ready for the 2015 season, Cody Altizer will be covering the topic of QDM in his upcoming articles.
Most of all, be sure your list includes spending time with the ones that matter the most, and no matter what time of the year it is—make sure you have fun.